ede·​ma | \i-ˈdē-mə \

Definition of edema 

1 : an abnormal infiltration and excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue or in a serous cavity

called also dropsy

2a : watery swelling of plant organs or parts

b : any of various plant diseases characterized by such swellings

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Other Words from edema

edematous \i-​ˈde-​mə-​təs \ adjective

Examples of edema in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Then there’s the related condition diabetic macular edema (DME), a repercussion of diabetic retinopathy that causes a buildup of fluid in a part of the retina called the macula, the NEI explains. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Is How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes," 8 Nov. 2018 If the swelling in your lungs exacerbates, however, a dangerous condition called high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) can occur. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "What Happens to Your Body When You Climb Everest," 11 June 2018 Bodies covered in open sores, the painful result of edema breaking the skin. Megan Specia And Kassie Bracken, New York Times, "In South Sudan, a Never-Ending Hunger Season Puts Millions in Danger," 30 May 2018 In rare cases, edema — when excessive fluid can collect in the air sacs of the lungs — can occur. Dwight Adams, Indianapolis Star, "Here's what you need to know to prevent drownings," 13 June 2018 Another severe form of altitude sickness is high-altitude pulmonary edema, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Katy Scott, CNN, "The dangers of oxygen deprivation on Everest," 4 June 2018 The edema can occur hours or even days after the initial contact with water. Salil Pradhan, Md, USA TODAY, "Ask a Doc: What's the difference between dry drowning and secondary drowning?," 1 June 2018 The appropriate times to ice are after a new injury, if edema (swelling) is present, or after activity (exercise). Kristen Mc David, Pta, Cincinnati.com, "Should I use heat or ice when it hurts?," 7 May 2018 Digestion stops, climbers can suffer crippling headaches, and fluid build up in the brain or lungs (cerebral and pulmonary edemas) can become fatal. Time, "The Ethics of Climbing Everest: Double Amputee Xia Boyu’s Feat Fuels Debates About Who Belongs on the Roof of the World," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'edema.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of edema

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for edema

New Latin, from Greek oidēma swelling, from oidein to swell; akin to Armenian aytnu- swell, Old English ātor poison

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Dictionary Entries near edema


Edeleanu process






Statistics for edema

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for edema

The first known use of edema was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for edema


variants: or chiefly British oedema \i-​ˈdē-​mə \
plural edemas also edemata\-​mət-​ə \

Medical Definition of edema 

: an abnormal excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue or in a serous cavity

called also dropsy

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More from Merriam-Webster on edema

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with edema

Spanish Central: Translation of edema

Nglish: Translation of edema for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of edema for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about edema

Comments on edema

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a knickknack or trinket

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